(The Hill) – A White House spokesman on Thursday lambasted former President Trump and Russian President Vladimir as “nauseating, fearful pigs” after Trump called Putin’s actions against Ukraine “pretty smart.”

On Wednesday, it was reported that Trump had called Putin’s move to invade Ukraine “pretty smart,” dismissing sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other Western countries as too small.

“I mean, he’s taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart,” Trump said at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, according to a recording of his remarks posted online. He again claimed that the Russian invasion would not have happened if he was in office.

White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates ripped into the comments on Twitter, writing that Trump and Putin are “two nauseating, fearful pigs who hate what America stands for and whose every action is driven by their their own weakness and insecurity, rubbing their snouts together and celebrating as innocent people lose their lives.”

Trump has garnered rebukes from members of both parties this week after dubbing Putin’s recognition of rebel-held areas of Ukraine as independent “genius” as Russia dramatically escalated its aggression toward Ukraine.

Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), one of the most vocal Republican critics of Trump, said that Trump’s “adulation” of Putin “aids our enemies.”

“Trump’s interests don’t seem to align with the interests of the United States of America,” Cheney said.

After Putin announced he was launching military operations in Ukraine, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Trump’s praise of Putin was “unsurprising.”

“It is outrageous, if unsurprising, that Trump would praise Putin’s murderous invasion of Ukraine as an act of ‘genius,'” Sanders wrote on Twitter. “It should concern us all that Putin is exactly the kind of leader Trump would like to be, and that so few Republicans have the courage to say this out loud.”